Farm Collector


1340 Book Tower, Engineering: Department, Detroit 26,

The inevitable result of leaving the ‘Old Steamer’
standing out the year around with the stack uncovered and smoke box
full of soot, is front end trouble. This trouble comes in two
forms, the bottom of the smoke box rusts through and the lower
segment of the front tube sheet and rivet heads waste away. Repairs
to the smoke box proper will be outlined in this issue and those to
the front head will follow in a later issue.

To replace the entire smoke box, we know of no better way than
the method used by one engine collector who saves the barrels from
discarded boilers and cuts them to the required length for the new
smoke box, one barrel will in some cases make three or four
complete smoke box replacements.

To remove the entire smoke box from a boiler, proceed as
follows: Locate the caulking edge of the front head flange, then
measure out approximately 1-1/2′ to locate the position for the
cut, transfer this location to the outside of the boiler. Scribe a
line around the entire smoke box and check this line for parallel
with a pair of dividers, placing one divider leg on the outside
rivet head of the front head seam. Then with a good center punch,
make punch marks along the line every three inches around the
entire smoke box. These punch marks will allow you to burn straight
and parallel. Next with a cutting torch proceed to burn, first
filling the boiler with water to prevent the heat from the cutting
transferring to the riveted head seam and causing leakage.

With the old smoke box cut out of the way you can fit the
replacement section in place and secure it with several small tack
welds. Then with a direct current electric arc welder proceed to
weld around the entire seam. Use a coated rod. Fleetwel No. 5
manufactured by the Lincoln Company works the best for boiler
repair work and should be used wherever possible. Be sure the
boiler is full of water and allow plenty of time for the welding to
prevent overheating the riveted seam of the front head.

In case of a full front end replacement is not warranted, the
lower half can be replaced as outlined in Fig. 1. Any boiler shop
can roll up a plate from scrap. If the front pedestal is not bolted
to the smoke box, the plate does not need to be heavier than
quarter inch.

The railroad have a good method of protecting the smoke boxes of
locomotives that might well be applied to traction engines. A liner
plate is bolted in the bottom of the smoke box. This plate will
gradually rust out and can be easily replaced when needed. Be sure
the liner fits tight to the original smoke box and before bolting
in place, it would be well to coat the contacting surface with a
thin coating of Rutland furnace cement. This cement will bake hard
with heat and form an effective seal between the two plates.

The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that slaps the
divorce court.

  • Published on May 1, 1952
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